In two of Baseball America's three mock drafts this month, BA's John Manuel has matched the Washington Nationals up with the, "powerful but erratic bat," of 18-year-old Clovis High School shortstop Jacob Gatewood at no.18 overall in the upcoming 2014 MLB Draft, which takes place from June 5-7.
In Baseball America's second mock draft, Gatewood's struggles in his senior year caused him to drop to the bottom of the first round, so Baseball America's scouts matched the Nationals up with switch-hitter Casey Gillaspie, a 21-year-old first baseman for the Wichita State Shockers who put up a .389/.520/.682 line with 15 doubles and 15 home runs in 59 games this season.
When Baseball America's 3rd Mock Draft was published, the BA writers were back to Gatewood going no.18 overall to the Nationals:
"18: NATIONALS: Sources continue to have conflicting information on whether the Nats will go with Fresno prep infielder Jacob Gatewood or a college bat. We’re going with Gatewood this time around."
ESPN writer Christopher Crawford mentioned Gatewood as a potential target for the Nationals with the 18th overall pick in the 1st Round, writing that the shortstop is, "... one of the most volatile prospects in the draft," but as, "... a shortstop with plus-plus power, the potential reward might outweigh the risk."
Nationals 2014 MLB Mock Drafts
MLB.com's John Manuel's Mock Draft last week projected that injured East Carolina Pirates' right-hander Jeff Hoffman might to the Nationals at no.18, though he noted that it was "pure speculation."
Hoffman, 21, a potential top of the draft selection, tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and underwent Tommy John surgery. He was (3-3) with a 2.94 ERA, 20 walks (2.67 BB/9) and 72 Ks (9.62 K/9) in 10 starts and 67 1/3 IP before he learned earlier this month that he would need surgery.
"Washington is an easy fit for Hoffman or [UNLV right-hander Erick] Fedde," Manuel wrote, because the Nationals, "... spent $2,925,000 and the 16th pick in 2012 on high school righty Lucas Giolito even though he had an injured elbow that required Tommy John surgery after his first pro appearance."
Hoffman, Mr. Manuel adds, could end up going in the Top 10.
ESPN.com's Keith Law projected in the first version of his 2014 Mock Draft that the Toronto Blue Jays would take Hoffman with the 11th pick and, noting the Nationals' willingness to gamble on pitchers with injury concerns, had them taking Fedde at no.18.
Fedde, 21, was (8-2) with a 1.76 ERA, 21 walks (2.46 BB/9) and 82 Ks (9.27 K/9) in 11 starts and 76 2/3 IP this season before he too was diagnosed with a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
The ESPN writer released version 2.0 of his 2014 Mock Draft this morning, once again matching the Nationals up with Fedde, though he mentions Evansville's Kyle Freeland and writes that the Nats would, "... do a deal with Jeff Hoffman if he got here."
Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo was asked earlier this month in an interview with 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier about drafting an injured player with their first round pick.
Though he said the Nationals would not shy away from drafting the right player, with the right makeup, even if he was injured, Rizzo said that the 2014 Draft class was a deep one.
"It's a deep enough draft this year so there is a possibility that you wouldn't have to do that, you're going to get a good, healthy player. But again, we don't say no to anything. We keep our options open. And that's something that [Asst. GM and Vice President, Scouting Operations] Kris Kline and myself will discuss as we get closer to the draft."
The Nationals have nine days and 17 picks before they'll have to make their first round selection.